550-Pound Bear Gets World’s First Back Surgery

In Israel’s zoo, a 19-years-old Syrian brown bear named Mango, underwent surgery to repair a herniated disc. Zookeepers noticed that Mango wasn’t able to properly use his back legs, it looked like some kind of paralysis. The Doctor who did Mango’s surgery said ““He wasn’t able to move his right hind limb and it progressively deteriorated over the following 48 hours to become completely paralyzed on the hind limbs” Things needed to be done quickly. The doctor and the team arrived immediately to help save Mango.

An X-ray was done and it showed that he had injured a disc in his spine earlier which compressed his spinal cord.

The veterinarians prepared Mango for his upcoming surgery. They shaved his back, his head was propped up on a pillow, which was wrapped in garbage plastic bag. Also IV and breathing tubes were inserted in his snout and mouth.

A blood preasure monitor was wrapped cuff around his right paw.

Doctors had to shave a strip of fur off of his back to access the spinal cord. They had to use truck straps to secure the giant beast to the operating table.

After they shaved the area that they would be working on, the doctors discussed the best possible way to go about the procedure. This isn’t a procedure they perform everyday after all.

This unique surgery isn’t uncommon for the doctors, they have done this type of surgery on many dogs and other small animals before.  Yet this was never done on a bear’s back so it is a very challenging procedure.

Last year, the veterinarians at the Ramat Gan Zoological Center used acupuncture to cure a horrible ear infection on a 14-year-old Sumatran tiger named Pedang. They are not shy of unusual procedures at the Ramat Gan Zoological Center.

The veterinarians will be able to know wether Mango makes a full recovery in the coming weeks. Thankfully the surgery was very successfull. Mango is a Syrian brown bear which is typically found in Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, and other parts of Europe. However, poaching and loss of habitat have reduced their numbers in the wild and made them extinct. And that’s why it is so important of taking extra measures to ensure Mango’s recovery.

It’s amazing to think that a bear that undergoes back surgery would be the first of its kind. We wish Mango good luck and that he will soon be able to continue his life normally. Knowing the importance of his spiece, we hope for the best!




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